Cyber Attacks Strike Two French Hospitals In One Week

Cyber Attacks Strike Two French Hospitals In One Week. image: Pixabay

Cyber Attacks Strike Two French Hospitals In One Week.

RANSOMWARE attacks have struck two French hospital groups in less than a week, prompting the transfer of some patients to other facilities but not affecting care for Covid-19 patients or virus vaccinations, said a spokesman.

TwoFrench hospitals were stricken with ransomware attacks, and third pre-emptively cut connections with an IT provider, in less than a week, prompting the transfer of some patients to other facilities as the facility could not operate without access to patients records.

The Villefranche-sur-Saône hospital complex in France’s eastern Rhone administrative area announced Monday that a cyber attack had been detected at 4:30 am local time.

The attack by the crypto-virus RYUK, a kind of ransomware, “strongly impacts” the Villefranche, Tarare and Trévoux sites of the North-West Hospital, the hospital said in a statement. Ransomware is software that blocks data on a computer system that is then made accessible after a ransom payment is made to the scammers. If no payment is made, the files remain locked and inaccessible.

Each hospital site’s team immediately set up limited procedures to ensure the exchange of information necessary for patient care, as well as a crisis unit to organise the operation of all three sites.

There are no scheduled transfers for patients in intensive care at Villefranche, nor for infants in the neonatal department, and Covid-19 vaccinations are continuing.  However, Tuesday’s slate of surgeries were postponed, and two sites are coordinating with the regional health agency to refer emergency patients to other facilities.

France’s National Agency for the Security of Information Systems (ANSSI) is helping to investigate the attack. The North-West Hospital’s statement came on the same day that ANSSI said it had discovered a hack of several organisations that bore the hallmarks of a group linked to Russian intelligence.

“This campaign mostly affected information technology providers, especially web-hosting providers,” ANSSI said in a report.

Monday’s attack in Villefranche follows similar ones on hospitals in Paris, Rouen, Montpellier, Issoudun, Albertville Moutiers, Toulon, and Narbonne during the past year – and just four days after the Dax hospital in the southwest Landes département reported a ransomware attack that took place on February 9.



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Tony Winterburn

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